It’s not personal, I promise
Animal Crossing is right up my alley — there are adorable animals walking around, the music is sweet and relaxing, and a large part of the gameplay itself is making your town a more beautiful place to live. On paper, it’s everything I want from a game.
At the start of quarantine in 2020, I was on the New Horizons bandwagon with everyone else. I was grinding for those Nook Miles tickets, and my friends and I would often get together and plan events in-game because we couldn’t see each other in real life. I was having a blast, but when I started visiting my friends’ islands for the first time, I started feeling a little bit insecure.
This might be a bit hard to believe, but I was in a sorority in college. I know, I know, but I promise it was a much more wholesome experience than media has led you to believe. Anyway, when you’re in a sorority, you have to participate in all kinds of events, like fundraisers and social events with your sisters. Now, I had a vague idea of what sororities were all about going in, but what I was not aware of was the importance of being able to make things look nice.
We’re talking party decorations, we’re talking calligraphy, and cake decorating, and painting canvases to hang up on your wall. It’s one of the metrics by which you can tell how good of a sorority girl someone is going to be, and by all counts, I was terrible. Not only did I skip events to stay home and play Overwatch with my friends, but any attempt on my part to make anything look remotely cute was a complete fail. I was really self-conscious about it at the time, but thankfully life after college hasn’t really called for those skills again.
Or so I thought. I stepped onto my friends’ Animal Crossing islands, and it was like I was back. They had like full cafes and little libraries and flower gardens and I… didn’t have much of anything at all. At one point I was trying to do a little homage to the Santa Monica Pier, but I soon gave up on that because I couldn’t figure out how to make it look good.
Part of the problem is that I go online and see the most incredible things that other people have created. Whether it’s a cozy-looking bookshop, or a full recreation of Hogwarts, or just the most stylish, Pinterest-worthy five-star island I’ve ever seen, I find it all so intimidating. I want more than anything to look at these builds, admire them, and take inspiration for my own island, but instead all I feel is this overwhelming jealousy that I couldn’t do that myself. I see how creative people are with this stuff, and I want to be creative in the same way.
Thus, my island sat, sad and abandoned, a monument to my own insecurity. Is my mindset silly, petty, and probably a little bit immature? Yeah, but unfortunately it’s put me off from playing the game altogether. The same can be said for games like Minecraft, The Sims, or anything else where you might have to build. I know I’m being ridiculous, because the whole point of games like this is to just have fun and be creative but, instead I’m paralyzed by my self-doubt. Now that I think about it, this may say a lot about how I live the rest of my life…
I will own the fact that this is entirely a “me” problem, I thought it was so strange to have those feelings from my very traditional Southern college experience bubble up to the surface over a game like Animal Crossing, of all things. To be honest, I’ve never reflected on this feeling like this before, and now I’m thinking throwing myself back in could be a way to work on myself, so to speak. With the new Brewster update coming in the next few months, I might just have to give it another good ‘ol college try.